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Tanzania government claims ownership of Airtel

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The management of Tanzania Telecommunication company Limited (TTCL) have started a move to repossess a local mobile firm Airtel.

This follows a directive by the country’s president John Pombe Magufuli to the finance minister to make a close follow-up on the ownership of Airtel in Tanzania.

According to Dr. Magufuli, Airtel is fully owned by the state company, arguing that there was an irregularity in switching the shares of TTCL to Airtel in 2001 when the firm was operating as Celtel Tanzania.

Speaking to journalists today, TTCL Chief Executive Officer clarified that at the moment, Airtel does not belong to TTCL.

“We want to retain our company (Airtel) of which its shares were shifted to the government many years ago ,”he emphasized

According to available information, during the privatisation of Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL), Celtel International was in partnership with Detecon of Germany and the two companies invested an initial $60 million into TTCL in February 2001 for a 35-per cent stake.

In the new partnership with TTCL, Celtel International agreed to be bound by independent ‘Expert Determination’ in the aftermath of a poor financial performance of TTCL. Based on this, Celtel International made an additional $4.96 million payment.

In early August 2005, Celtel Tanzania and TTCL were legally separated, allowing each to administer its own financial and business operations. In this new (duly signed) agreement between the Tanzanian Government and Celtel Tanzania, TTCL’s shareholding structure remained unchanged, with the government of Tanzania holding 65 per cent and Celtel International the remaining 35 percent.

In the aftermath, Celtel Tanzania’s structure was changed so as to follow the government’s decision to sell a 25 per cent stake to Celtel International for $28 million.

Proponents of the TTCL takeover of Airtel argue that Tanzania was ‘shortchanged’ in these transactions and that Celtel’s investment wasn’t commensurate with the returns over the years.

The President accused some officials of ‘dirty games’ of changing/selling the shares at ‘throw away’ prices, at the expense of national interest.

Parliament in Tanzania recently passed a new law that saw the previously privatised TTCLrevert into a fully public owned corporation with an added role to play in the telecommunications sector.

TTCL plans to improve the company’s operations and extend services to reach remote areas. To achieve this plan, TTCL needs more funding from the government and the plan now is to do it after gaining 100% ownership.

Currently Airtel Tanzania is owned by the government of Tanzania through TTCL (40%) and Celtel Tanzania BV, an affiliate of Zain Africa BV which was acquired by Bharti Airtel International in November 2010.

Bharti Airtel recently denied rumours it was planning to exit its unprofitable markets of Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.

It has since entered into a definitive agreement with Millicom International Cellular S.A. to acquire 100 per cent equity stake in its Rwanda operation, Tigo Rwanda.

The acquisition is consistent with the company’s recent statement which denied the exit rumours and said ‘we are open to consolidation opportunities either through acquisitions or mergers, to create a viable business in these three (Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania) markets.’

Operating in 15 countries across Africa, Airtel says it is committed to profitably serving its customers on the continent.

“We are also committed to the long term viability of our operations in two other countries i.e. Kenya and Tanzania, to ensure that in 2018 all our 15 operations in Africa start contributing positive margins and cash flows towards a healthy and profitable Airtel Africa,” Bharti Airtel Chairman, Sunil Bharti Mittal said.

The company is yet to issue a statement on the latest developments in Tanzania.

24 Hours Across Africa

Apple unveils new iPhone 11 with a triple-camera

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Apple Inc (AAPL.O) caught up with hardware rivals on Tuesday by revealing a triple-camera iPhone, and it rolled out a streaming TV service priced at $5 a month, undercutting Disney and Netflix.

The announcements came at the company’s biggest marketing event, where it unveils its top products for the year ahead, and showcased an aggressive Apple ready to battle on price.

The long-awaited Apple TV+ streaming television service will be available in over 100 countries, starting in November. The service will not be available in China when it launches, nor will the Apple Arcade video game subscription.

Buyers of an iPhone, iPad or Mac will get a free year of streaming TV, potentially drawing hundreds of millions of viewers to the service. That catapults the new service into a rarified group of companies.

“I think the pricing on the Apple TV service was definitely a positive surprise,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. “That’s why you’re seeing the hammering in some of the other video service-related names like Netflix, Amazon and Roku. Clearly, that was a positive that people were happy to hear.”

There was no bundle with Apple Music or other services as some analysts had expected. But Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, said the TV service, a $5 a month “Arcade” gaming service and the base model iPhone 11, seem designed to draw in users for the longer term.

“We weren’t expecting Apple Arcade and particularly Apple TV to be priced as aggressively as they were,” Bajarin said. “They know once consumers get into their ecosystem, they don’t leave.”

Apple said its new iPhone 11 will come with two back cameras, including an ultra wide-angle lens and the next generation of microchips, the A13. Prices start at $699, down from last year’s new iPhone that started at $749.

The more expensive iPhone 11 Pro will have three cameras on the back – wide angle, telephoto and ultra-wide. It can create videos with all three back cameras and the front camera at the same time and starts at $999. The iPhone 11 Pro Max with a bigger screen starts at $1,099. The new phones are available to order Friday and will start shipping Sept. 20.

Rivals including Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) already sell phones with three cameras on the back. While Apple once tested the upper limits of what consumers would pay for a phone, it is now giving ground on prices, even making older models available at significant discounts to the latest technology.

“Consumers absolutely still care about cameras. That’s why it was surprising over the last couple of years that Samsung and Huawei got the jump on Apple,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy. “Apple was playing a bit of catch up, but Apple did bring their game, particularly on the video side of the camera, where I do think they’ll have the leg up.”

Analysts expect Apple will sell around 200 million iPhones in the next year, in addition to other devices, and while many of those will be in China, it ensures at least tens of millions of potential viewers for the subscription service.

Hal Eddins, chief economist for Apple shareholder Capital Investment Counsel, said Apple’s lower priced iPhones “aren’t exciting on the surface, but the low streaming price may suck in some new subscribers.” Apple shares gained 0.8%.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Oando has announced the discovery of Gas in Niger Delta

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Oando plc through its molecule subsidiary oando energy resources (OER) on wednesday said it has made a correlation gas and quantum discovery in its fields in the Niger delta

A disclosure sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange said the project is a joint venture arrangement among the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Details showed that the NNPC owns 60 per cent stake in the project, while Oando and NAOC, the operator controls 20 percent each.

The discoveries were made in the deeper sequences of the Obiafu-Obrikom fields, in OML61, onshore Niger Delta, the oil firm said.

The Obiafu-41 Deep appraisal/exploration well has reached a total depth of 4.374m encountering an important gas and condensate accumulation within the deltaic sequence of Oligocene age comprising more than 130m of high quality hydrocarbonbearing sands, it said.

The company added that the find amounts to about 1 trillion cubic feet of gas and 60 million barrels of associated condensate in the deep drilled sequences.

The discovery is part of a drilling campaign planned by the Joint Venture aimed at exploring near-field and deep pool opportunities as immediate time to market opportunities.

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